Escondido, CA

Foreboding messages about drought

Here we go again. Dire warnings from the Governor regarding an impending drought and a foreboding message of potential curbs on water usage. As I have said before, droughts in California are nothing new as they occur roughly every 5 to 7 years with a duration of approximately the same term. 

For longtime Escondido residents, we remember the restrictions imposed in the mid 1970’s regarding landscape over watering and vehicle washing.

Having moved here in 1973 I thought: What a great place to live! since it rained very little and when the rain did come it seemed it only rained at night. At that time in my life I had enough of rain—having endured torrential downpours in Korea and the summer hot steamy rainy days in New Jersey. As a kid in NJ it was great running around in bathing suits during a summer storm. 

Oh my, I hit the jackpot moving here! Or so I thought until January 1978 when we received over 30 inches of rain in one month. Our yearly average was about 16 inches of rain.

That is when I took note of the cyclical rainy seasons in California as I have lived here through about seven droughts. What has changed, and what the rest of the state doesn’t recognize is what the San Diego County Water Authority did to prepare us for future drought years. 

About thirty years ago the SDCWA undertook an aggressive infrastructure construction program to increase storage and reliability thus protecting our growing economy and population growth during the drought years.

The Authority planned for upgrading and expanding the delivery system through pipeline improvements. Olivenhain Dam was built; the San Vicente reservoir capacity was doubled and the Carlsbad Desalination plant was built to increase supply. However, no such action was taken in Northern California—and as you may recall during a previous drought a statewide edict was issued for all California residents to reduce water usage even though the SDCWA had enough capacity to serve our 3 million residents for a full year if we didn’t even receive one inch of rain. We have the same situation today according to recent comments from Board Chair Gary Croucher. You can get more information on additional steps taken by contacting

Now I am not saying we should not be prudent in using this precious commodity. It makes sense to check irrigation systems and household plumbing for leaks and I have no problem with restaurants asking if I want a glass of water or not. Code enforcement aside, it also makes sense to wash your car on the lawn to keep water from running into the street. There is no downside to saving money on your water bill.

As a city we installed water recycling pipelines to irrigate medians and parks (note the purple pipes) and a new pipeline is under construction to supply reclaimed water to the groves in East Escondido. One August years ago I wrote a letter to the editor decrying the overuse of outside watering when driving around town seeing gutters filled with water. There are minimal steps we can take toward water conservation and in this regard I believe San Diego County is the state leader.

The month of May is Military Appreciation Month with Memorial Day closing out the month. The annual Memorial Day event in Escondido has been held at Oakhill Cemetery for many decades but was canceled last year due to the pandemic. The Allied Veterans Council is in the planning stages of hopefully being allowed to conduct the ceremony this year. It is an outdoor event and quite frankly I see no reason to cancel the service this year. I, along with many residents, have attended this event for many years and we look forward to being there once again. Stay tuned for more details.

Two weeks ago I mentioned Joyce Masterson in my column and the other day I saw a FB comment from Mike Stein regarding the column. Mike is a retired Escondido Chief of Police which sparked a memory when I first met then Lt. Stein in 1974. My store was victim of a bad check we cashed for a customer. My attempt to collect was not successful so I took it to the police department fraud division where Lt. Stein was in charge. After discussing with him how I can collect he gave me a detailed explanation how this man almost legally got free money, actually groceries. 

With a smile, Mike told me I could probably go to court but was the expense and time worth the effort? I remember telling Mike thanks a lot and ate the loss. I guess this falls in the category of “win some, lose some.”

Do you want to know how I found out that schools were back in session? Finally, I say. There was a bomb scare at San Marcos High School which proved to be unfounded and I thought well OK the kids are back. I thought bomb scares were so passe.

Always ending with something light here goes new plates I spotted. These are obviously meaningful to the owners but I can’t figure them out. DUH VAN, MTBMAMA and JSTAGLI. Oh, how many masks do you still have. I have lots.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

One response to “Foreboding messages about drought”

  1. nick says:

    good one

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